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Situation Unclear About U.S. Raid on Afghan Compound

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4, 2002 – Officials of Hamid Karzai's Afghan interim government said the U.S. raid on suspected Taliban compounds Jan. 24 in the village of Hazar Qadam may have killed some Karzai allies.

The U.S. Central Command has launched an investigation into the incident in which an Army Green Beret was also wounded.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that U.S. and Afghan forces were shot at as they approached Hazar Qadam, and they returned fire. U.S. and Afghan forces killed a number of those firing at them and detained 27 Afghans suspected of being Taliban fighters. The raid also netted a large cache of arms and ammunition.

Local Afghan officials since have said that friendly forces were in the compound during the raid and some were killed. The political situation in the region means "everyone can be correct," Rumsfeld said.

He said in Afghanistan, the various factions constantly meet and negotiate. Tribes and groups switch sides constantly and a group that is unfriendly one day may be an ally the next. He said other groups pretend to be friendly, but provide aid and assistance to Al Qaeda and Taliban fugitives in the country.

"It is not a neat, clean, tidy situation," he said. "My instinct is to let CENTCOM continue their investigation and complete it."

CENTCOM officials would not speculate on when the investigation would be completed.

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